As a student run organization that recognizes our current criminal justice system does not serve justice for all, we, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, are appealing to the ethical and moral responsibility of Sandra Johnson and the City of Bloomington in demanding that they drop the charges against the Mall of America Eleven.
The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group empowers young activists to organize for what we believe in, including working against a justice system built on structural racism. So when a City Attorney exercises their “prosecutorial discretion” to charge organizers, many of whom are of color, the very fabric of our mission is being targeted. The purpose of the Black Christmas demonstration was to protest institutions, upheld by the law, that have protected the guilty and failed the innocent. When we don’t indict those clearly responsible, when we threaten peaceful assemblers, when we charge racial justice organizers for highlighting injustices, we stand on the wrong side of history and threaten the very moral fabric of our country.
We must concede that, on some points, Sandra Johnson is absolutely right. Prosecutors are sworn to uphold the Constitution and the law even-handedly, and it is unethical to use prosecutorial discretion to selectively charge or not charge individuals. Unfortunately, Sandra Johnson does not seem to realize that her selective prosecution of eleven organizers is the exact type of unethical conduct she purports to be avoiding. Selectively targeting eleven out of the thousands of participants and dozens of organizers of the event is not only unethical, it is clearly using prosecutorial discretion to benefit and uphold a system built on white supremacy and racism. By choosing to “send a message” to organizers, instead of applying the same standards to all who joined in the demonstration, Sandra Johnson joins the ranks of many prosecutors before her who have opted to hide behind racist systems of power instead of standing for justice.
This is far from the first time intimidation tactics have been used to repress young people of color organizing against the injustices of the law. We stand on the shoulders of the generations before us who have fought for their freedom and paved the way for us to do the same. It is our duty – as people who love the liberty, freedom, and justice our country represents – to fight and ensure that these rights are inalienable for all people.
We are proud to stand by the Mall of America Eleven and urge the City of Bloomington to drop these overzealous charges before this trial tarnishes the American judicial system even further. Expect to see us tomorrow morning, 8:30AM at the Hennepin County Building in Edina.
We hope to see you there.
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group